Grandfather in a Boat

A photo of my grandfather, Dr. Albert B. Cleage jr. standing in a very heavy looking row boat. It was taken at Idlewild, Michigan in the early 1920s. Because my grandfather has the same tie and the same tired expression in both photographs, I believe they were taken on the same day. My aunt Gladys appears in the group photo and appears to be 2 or 3 years old so that would place it at 1925 or 1926.

I recognize my father in the back row with the cap on the far left. Next to him is his cousin Helen Mullins, and my grandmother Pearl Reed Cleage, two people I don’t know and my grandfather is at the end of that row holding a cigar. My aunt Barbara stands next to him. My aunt Gladys appears to be brushing her teeth and my Uncle Henry is chewing tobacco.

The three photos below were taken earlier. My father and Henry look several years younger than they do in the photograph above.  These two were part of a batch of photos all with the number 671 written on the back.

Henry, Louis, Helen Mullins , Evelyn Dougles, Cornelius Henderson (who appeared in last weeks post), Toddy (my father) I don’t know who Helen Mullins is holding. Maybe my aunt Barbara? Neither can I identify the dog.
I recognize Henry with his arms over his head, standing on the left and I see my grandmother peeking around another ladies hat.  The dog in the boat photo also appears as a blur on the far left.

24 thoughts on “Grandfather in a Boat

  1. I had to smile at that group picture by the building. Not many happy faces – the same faces I get when I insist on a picture of my family! And they packed a lot of people into that little boat! Your family photos always seem to capture a slice of life as it was experienced.

    1. I wonder if they took the boat out or just posed for photographs. There are several others from that day with a varying number of the same people sitting in the boat.

  2. I had to click on the picture to see if Gladys was indeed brushing her teeth with what looks like a chicken leg, but enlarged it looks more like an all-day sucker. Isn’t Barbara working away at a sucker? Anyway, the first picture of your grandfather in the boat made me laugh because the boat looks so small. Maybe it’s just the angle.

    1. Wendy, I thought the same thing about the boat. It looks so heavy and small and I wonder why he is standing in it. I think they were eating suckers.

  3. Your poor grandfather! It seems like the words “Doctor” and “tired” would naturally go together! Do you know the circumstances regarding these photos? Perhaps he finally got a day off and had a family outing.

    1. Jana, not to mention vacationing with 7 children, although I’m sure my grandmother got the worst of that deal as she had to do everything she did at home in more primitive conditions. They were in Idlewild, which was 4 hours (or more in those days) away from Detroit, so I don’t think he’s doing any doctoring.

  4. A delightful series of family photos. I cannot find any of my family in a group; not that we every had a camera when we were at home. The shot of your grandfather in the boat grabbed my attention immediately.

  5. A great picture of your grandfather. He’s trying to appear relaxed, hand in pocket, but clearly isn’t. It would be interesting to know the story behind that shot. I have to agree that no-one in the first family group looks particularly happy; thank goodnes there were a few smiling faces in the others.

    1. Knowing the men in my family he may have thought he had a big smile. Once I went looking for photos of my grandfather actually smiling and there are a few. I don’t remember my grandfather as being somber. I think that was just his preferred picture taking face.

  6. The first photo really made me smile! Your grandfather has this “hurry up, get it over with” look. Absolutely great! The question of course is, who is the feller sitting on his haunches (is that the right expression?) behind your grandfather? We’ll probably never know unless you can tell by his shoe, shirt or pants 🙂
    Great series!

  7. I always enjoy seeing your family gatherings. You are so lucky to have so many fun times of everyone sharing together. I’ll just bet that boat was lots of fun for all!

  8. These are the kind of boats I feel squeamish about…
    But I love this last picture, so much like the scene some Impressionists favored,
    at the end of the 19th and at the turn of the century.
    Everyone seemed to have such a good time on a lazy afternoon.
    Nice gathering!!

  9. That first shot is so wonderful. A classic image. Though he’s not, he looks to be taller than the boat is long.

  10. I love old family group shots; this one is no exception. Gladys and Henry steal the show, but the boat with only one oar comes in second…what a handful for Helen!

  11. I like how so many of your family photos have creases, torn corners, cracks, and soiled edges. I think of it as the patina of memories after generations of family have told stories about the people in the images. That postcard of the 4 German princes on my blog was never mailed, never handled. It would have a different value if it only had their mother’s royal fingerprints on the back.

    1. I bet all those smudges and finger prints were not put there by my grandmother ;-P
      I like your way of looking at it. Sometimes I don’t want to do any photoshopping because I like the old cracks and smudges.

  12. Wonderful photos! I’ve been to Idelwild only once, as a child. I remember the roller skating rink and a couple of the cottages we visited. Your photos reminded me of how rustic and beautiful it was. Many of my family members vacationed there from the 1920’s into the 1940’s.

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